Today it is my great pleasure to take part in the blog blitz for Moonlight on the Thames by Lauren Westwood, on behalf of Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks go to the author for providing the advance copy for review. Here is what the book is all about.
Worlds collide when two strangers meet at Waterloo station. It’s a moment they’ll never forget.
Nicola is a star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has run its course, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is the last straw…
Dmitri loves conducting his pop-up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist.
Can two lonely hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?
Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson, Debbie Johnson, Sarah Morgan, Karen Swan and Heidi Swain.
If there is one thing I often need after reading all of the crime books that tend to dominate my kindle, it is a book that will give me that feel good factor. Moonlight on the Thames gave me exactly that and more, with a story that was sometimes humorous, often poignant and overwhelmingly romantic, all set against a back drop of Christmas good cheer.
There really isn’t a lot I can say about the plot of the book without giving away a touch too much. What we are faced with a two seemingly different characters, Nicola, a career driven woman who is tired of being taken for granted by her married lover, and Dmitri, a man with an overwhelming talent but a tainted past which makes it hard for him to move on. When they meet at Waterloo station, there is an instant spark for both of them but with Dmitri full of the joys of the season and Nicola hell bent on avoiding any kind of festive cheer, their introduction is a less than harmonious one. as she looks back on her behaviour, Nicola is horrified by how she acted and seeks out Dmitri to apologise. What follows is a journey of discovery for both of them, taking them down a road they never thought that they would travel, let alone one they would travel together.
When we first meet Nicola it is very hard to like her. She is hard nosed, comes across as a little spoilt perhaps, and is most certainly not in the right frame of mind to be audibly assaulted by a group of carol singers on her delayed journey home. And yet … there is something about her, something which stops you from immediately writing her off, and the more we learn about her, the more you understand what has driven the behaviour we see in the early pages of the book.
Dmitri, on the other hand, is the archetypal hero. Dark, brooding, charming and so kind hearted that you cannot help but fall quickly in love with him, and totally understand why Nicola might just follow suit. He has an amazing way with people, even if sometimes their attention is unwelcome, and is a truly talented musician, if only something wasn’t holding him back.
Despite outward appearances, Dmitri and Nicola are actually very similar people. While Nicola may act in a cold and sometimes clinical manner, that doesn’t really show people the real her. Both of them are damaged by their pasts, and both stories are harrowing and heartbreaking in their own way. How they chose to overcome their pasts is understandable, if not necessarily the right choice in the long run, What we see are two lonely and scarred people who need and can redeem each other, if only they will take that not-so-simple leap of faith.
I really liked the way Lauren Westwood has created the emotion within the book. You have those romantic moments between Nicola and Dmitri, tinged with confusion and a strong denial of their feelings. This leeches from each and every page and part of you will probably want to just bang their heads together. If ever you needed an example of the importance of communication then this would be it. There are also the tender moments where each of them opens up to the other about their past which tug at the heartstrings without overplaying the sympathy card. It would be easy to make the situations too tragic but, as harsh as they are, the author has balanced sympathetic edge of the characters with the display of an inner strength and resilience perfectly. Combine this with some fantastic supporting characters, such as Dmitri’s best friend, Kolya, or his sister, Tanya, and you find yourself being drawn right into the heart of their lives, understanding them just as they understand each other, in a way that didn’t seem possible at the beginning.
There is so much more I’d like to say about this book but it borders on spoiler territory so I’m going to stop here. What I will say is that if you are looking for a poignant, romantic and moving festive read that is full of hope, then I would definitely recommend this book. Fabulously festive stuff.
If you would like a copy of Moonlight on the Thames for yourself, it is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Lauren Westwood writes romantic women’s fiction, and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters.